Like most nations, Poland is considering the future of its own forests. Proponents of logging into ancient woodlands along with also the removal of protections to trees on private property, such as Environment Minister Jan Szyszko, have justified their stance on the grounds of this accounts of creation from the Bible.
The English standard version of this applicable passage, Genesis 1:28, says:
For many, this appeal for spiritual scripture might appear somewhat peculiar, but in states that identify chiefly as Christian, for example Poland, scripture conveys serious sociopolitical weight. However, does this interpretation pile up?
The essential words in the passage from Genesis are subdue and dominion. Scholars of history have levelled this bill in the account of creation found in Genesis.
Back in 1967, a professor of history, Lynn White junior, written a famous post arguing the account of creation in Genesis 1:
According to White, this mindset of human excellence and unbridled domination was in the origin of our present ecological crisis.
In his 1994 book, The Domination of Nature, crucial scholar William Leiss agreed with White’s opinion that Genesis was the very important cultural resource for the idea of human domination over nature. However he qualified that by pointing out that Christian philosophy also sought to curtail human behavior by holding individuals accountable to God.
A Christian Eco-Theology
Unsurprisingly, Christian people with ecological sympathies have resisted White’s investigation. Over the last 3 decades, an alternate eco-theology has surfaced facilitated by initiatives like the forum on Religion and Ecology in Yale, and also The Earth Bible series.
However, at its center lies the recasting of humanity’s relationship with character from among unchecked dominion and control, to one of stewardship and responsibility.
Most surely, then, due to the responsibilities that flow from his double citizenship, man’s dominion can’t be known as permit to abuse, stink, waste or ruin what God was forced to manifest his own glory. This dominion can’t be anything besides a stewardship in symbiosis with creatures.
This theological replacement of dominion with stewardship was criticised by several scholars as “exegetical cherry picking” only discovering biblical excerpts that encircle the perspective of nature as God’s sacred creation and people as its only stewards.
But within the Christian tradition it’s been significantly improved by Pope Francis’ latest writings about the surroundings.
Even though it’s correct that we Christians have sometimes wrongly translated the Scriptures, now we have to forcefully reject the idea that our being made in God’s image and given dominion over the Earth warrants complete domination over other animals.
The biblical texts should be read in their context, with the proper hermeneutic, recognizing they tell us ’till and maintain’ the garden of this world (cf. Gen 2:15). ‘Tilling’ describes nurturing, ploughing or functioning, while’maintaining’ methods caring, protecting, handling and maintaining. This means a relationship of mutual obligation between human beings and nature.
The emphasis on caring and keeping is an important counterpoint to ideas of dominion. Francis asserts that we’re sanctioned to choose from the Earth that which we Will Need to subsist, but this must be balanced with maintaining the Earth for future generations because:
What exactly does this imply for Polish woods? There are several ways to translate a text, and also the Book of Genesis isn’t any exception.
Nonetheless, it’s important for people considering the future of forests in Poland and everywhere else to be conscious that this historic interpretation was questioned by scholars and undoubtedly refused by the Catholic Church.
Not merely is a self-granted permit to control character now regarded from the Pope as sinful, such a stance has severe implications for human culture. As Pope Francis says in Laudato Si:
We must therefore question the motives of people who cling to the obsolete view of genesis. Might it be due to an unwavering adherence to scripture, or are there more foundation drivers of the behavior?
It’s often difficult for the historian to judge, when guys explain why they’re doing exactly what they wish to perform, whether they are providing actual reasons or just culturally acceptable factors.